VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Those who live in Virginia Beach and want to go to the Oceanfront to shop at a local business may soon have free garage parking available to them.
Well, at least for two hours.
The idea is part of a slew of proposed changes City Council could sign off on next week in order to reset and reimagine much of the resort city’s parking program.
While the majority of the changes would be in the Oceanfront resort area, the city’s Sandbridge lots would also be impacted.
The hope is the changes will serve to simplify parking at the beach, while also encouraging locals to come to the resort.
In a presentation to City Council in April, Kathy Warren, deputy director for the city’s economic development office, said the last time resort parking was adjusted in any way was 2010.
First, all city-owned parking lots at the Oceanfront would shift from a flat rate, pay the same price for all-day model to an hourly one.
Currently, the city charges $7 to park all day in one of its lots, Monday-Thursday and then $10 Friday-Sunday. Under the proposal, the lots would be $2/hour like parking garages.
“We feel like someone wants to come down and park in one of our surface lots. Why should they have to play a flat rate?” Warren said.
During major events and busy weekends, Warren said the City Manager could implement higher rates. However City Council would set the rate range. Warren said the current proposal is to set the minimum rate at $10 for parking and $22 for the maximum.
However, the rate would always stay at a $3 flat rate fee for locals after 5 p.m.
In order to entice people to come spend money at local businesses at all times, the city is proposing the start of a validation program.
“If you spend money in a restaurant or business, you can get two free hours of free parking,” Warren said. The parking would only be validated if you parked in one of the city’s garages and the businesses would have to agree to participate.
In Sandbridge, where the city has two municipal lots, the city is proposing doing away with lot attendants for good. Instead, all parking would be done by meters or mobile. Parking rates would now be the same for residents and non-residents alike: $4 flat fee.
“This cashiering causes long lines and vehicles waiting on the streets to enter,” Warren said, adding sometimes congestion caused 45 minute delays.
No speakers signed up for the public hearing last Tuesday on the changes.
City Council is expected to vote on the issue next Tuesday.